Extremely Smooth. The dark walnut brown color of 1931 81st Anniversary Edition opens like a stage curtain in your tasting glass, before the legs take their own sweet time to form slowly, apparently in a slow race to see which one can get to the bottom last. After all, they’re here for my viewing pleasure, and what’s the hurry?
Pull the cork and witness a beautiful bouquet pot still dunder and caramel; a perfectly balanced contrast of light scents. This is the part the Angel’s are attracted to, I’m sure of it. The aromas are deep, delicious and more like a Plantation Jamaican or Bajan rum than something I’d identity in a blind tasting as St. Lucian. The pot still coppery aromas are forward, pleasant and tempered by some molasses, smoke, charred old oak, walnuts and mild caramel and the slightest hint of astringency from residual tannins left by the port grape tannins that previously occupied some of 1931’s aging barrels. Lesser notes of leather, light tobacco, black cherry, mild spice and bread round out the nasal experience. Upon sipping, a medium-heavy pot still coppery body layers over your palate, providing solid foundation for the rich flavors of oak, cocoa, caramel and mild dried fruit (apple, cherry). It’s a sensory finish, long and extremely smooth, toffee flavor, full in the throat while delivering a more delicate sweetness on the tip of your tongue and lips. In short, the aromas are perfectly represented in the flavors and finish. 1931 2nd Edition is as consistent as it is wonderfully complex.
1931 Second Edition (Magenta label) was released in 2012. It is the second version of this incredible rum. 1931 (Magenta label) commemorates 81 years of rum making at a distillery founded by Denis Barnard in the Mabouya Valley near the small fishing village of Dennery. That distillery ceased operations in 1972 after merging with a distillery located in in the Roseau Valley, and together they formed St. Lucia Distillers, which continue operations in Roseau.
The rum reviewed here is the second edition, released in 2012. Its spirits were laid down in casks in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and include 100% Coffey still distillates matured in a combination of American white oaks casks and port casks. Also, casks with 100% Pot Still and 50/50 blends of Pot/Coffey Still aged in American white oak contribute to the blend. After blending, the rum was married in American white oak casks for three months, and then a light filtration was used before bottling.
Compared with the 80th Anniversary of 1931 released in 2011 (which was the first version), this 81st anniversary edition is a different rum altogether. It is different in every manner; age, distillation, color, aromas and flavors. Handily, the bottle’s stopper and the color of the packaging changes with each edition, making it easy to identify subsequent annual releases.
St. Lucia’s finest rum displays brilliantly in a hefty clear glass oval section decanter. A thick bottom adds heft, while a wide wooden cap is complimented with a “1931” metal coin inlaid into the top end while and natural cork stopper seals the genie inside. Each bottle is serialized and dated. This review is written after sampling bottle 2998 from batch 02, bottled on 23 July 2012.
As I pulled the wide wooden cap from this bottle of 1931 to fill my first glass, I said out loud ‘Oh, I’m going to enjoy this.’ There’s nothing like to sound of a firm cork being pulled out of a bottle of fine rum. And the experience just kept getting better, and better. The way the copper plays on the wood and cherry scents is simply amazing. St. Lucia Distillers; I think this is your best rum yet.
Reviewed: January 2013 while sailing around St. Lucia.